Sep 10, 2009
There are so many news about the rich becoming less rich. But even as the vast majority of the wealthy are losing wealth, some are gaining or forging the next Gilded Age in their garages.
We won’t know who the real winners are for a few years. Will it be a space-travel tycoon? Solar-panel maker? Health-care lobbyists? Copper traders? Dapper jewel thieves.
How do you think today’s big fortunes are being made?
History in this case may be a poor guide, since wealth waves are usually built on unique intersections of economics, finance and government.
CNN just put up a list of ’10 Folks Who Got Rich During the Great Depression.’
Here is the list:
1. Baseball star Babe Ruth, who made $80,000 a year in Depression-era dollars
2. Robber John Dillinger, who raked in more than $3 million in today’s dollars
3. Supermarket pioneer Michael J. Cullen, who left Kroger in 1930 to start King Cullen Grocery.
4. Film star James Cagney, one of the top money-makers in Hollywood in the mid-1930s.
5. Charles Darrow, creator of the Monopoly game, who became the world’s first millionaire game-designer.
6. Oil man J. Paul Getty, who snatched up depressed oil stocks with his inheritance and created a new petroleum empire.
7. King of Swing Glenn Miller, the one-man Black Eyed Peas of his day.
8. Howard Hughes, the aviator, Hollywood maven and all around nutjob, was better at spending than earning.
9. Singing Cowboy Gene Autry.
10. Joe Kennedy Sr., the patriarch of the Kennedy’s made his money…well it’s not clear exactly, though it involved stock speculation, real-estate, liquor and movies.
So what can the list tell us about how to make a fortune in today’s Great Recession? It’s best to be a celebrity, thief, game-maker, bottom-feeder or inside-trader.
Maybe times haven’t changed so much after all.